Ohio Issues Guidance to Businesses to Begin to Reopen Amid COVID-19

The global Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) has sent uncertainty rippling through businesses and households around the globe. On April 27th, 2020, the State of Ohio issued a set of “Responsible Protocols for Getting Ohio Back to Work” which contained a variety of mandatory and suggested best practices for operating in the Post COVID-19 world. The protocols are guided by the following broader principles:

  1. To protect the health of employees, customers and their families; and
  2. To support community efforts to control the spread of the virus; and
  3. To lead in responsibly getting Ohio back to work. 

The guidance breaks out the rules and regulations for re-opening based on the type of business it is, with specific guidance for businesses in the sectors of Manufacturing, Distribution and Construction, Consumer, Retails and Services, Physical Spaces and General Office Environments. 

Beginning May 1, 2020, all medically necessary procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a healthcare facility or do not require inpatient hospital admission and minimizes use of personal protective equipment may move forward. This includes regular doctor visits, well-care checks, well-baby visits, out-patient surgeries, imaging procedures, and diagnostic tests. Dental services and veterinary services may also proceed if a safe environment can be established. 

Beginning on May 4, 2020, manufacturing, distribution, and construction businesses may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

Beginning on May 4, 2020, general office environments may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

Beginning on May 12, 2020, consumer, retail and services, may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

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Consumer, Retail and Service 

 MandatoryRecommended Best Practices
Employees- Ensure min 6 ft between people, if not possible, install barriers
- Employees must perform daily symptom assessment*
- Require employees to stay home if symptomatic
- Face coverings must be worn at all times
- Require regular handwashing
- Place hand sanitizers in high-contact locations
- Clean high-touch items after each use (e.g. carts, baskets)
- Group employees by shift to reduce exposure
Customers and Guests- Ensure minimum 6 ft between people
- Specify hours for at-risk populations (e.g. elderly)
- Place hand sanitizers in high-contact locations
- Ask customers and guests not to enter if symptomatic
- Face coverings to be worn while shopping or visiting
- Stagger entry of customers and guest
- Health questionnaire for symptoms at entry point
- Provide face coverings upon entry
- Where possible, accept customers by appointment only
- Increase availability for curb-side pickup
- Consider suspending return policies
Physical Spaces- Ensure minimum 6 ft between people, if not possible, install barriers
- Post social distancing signage & disinfect high-contact surfaces hourly
- Clean merchandise before stocking if possible
- Establish maximum capacity (e.g. 50% of fire code)
- Discontinue self-service food stations, product samples
- Food courts remain closed
- Close once a week for deep cleaning
- Maximize available checkout space to promote social distancing (e.g., space customer lines with floor markers, use alternate registers)
- Use contact-less payments where possible
- Increase capacity for delivery and curb-side pickup
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases- Immediately isolate and seek medical care for any individual who develops symptoms while at work
- Contact the Local Health District about suspected cases or exposures
- Shutdown shop/floor for deep sanitation if possible
- Work with Local Health Department to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals to help facilitate effective contact tracing/notifications
- Once testing is readily available, test all suspected infections or exposures
- Following testing, contact Local Health Department to initiate appropriate care and tracing

Manufacturing, Distribution and Construction

 MandatoryRecommended Best Practices
Employees, Distributors and Guests- Ensure minimum 6 ft between people, if not possible, install barriers
- Employees must perform daily symptom assessment*
- Require employees to stay home if symptomatic
- Face coverings must be worn at all times
- Require regular handwashing
- Stagger or limit arrivals of employees and guests
- Personnel should work from home if possible
- Provide stipend to employees for private transportation
Shift Pattern- Daily disinfection of desks and workstations
- Change shift patterns (e.g. fewer shifts)
- Stagger lunch and break times
- Split into sub-teams, limit contact across sub-teams
- Reduce pace to allow less FTEs per line
Physical Spaces / Workstations- Ensure minimum 6 ft between people, if not possible, install barriers
- Daily deep disinfection of high-contact surfaces
- Space factory floor to allow for distancing
- Regulate max number of people in cafeterias/common spaces
- Establish maximum capacity (e.g. 50% of fire code)
- Close cafeteria and gathering spaces if possible, or conduct regular cleanings
- Daily deep disinfection of entire facility
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases- Immediately isolate and seek medical care for any individual who develops symptoms while at work
- Contact the Local Health District about suspected cases or exposures
- Shutdown shop/floor for deep sanitation if possible
- Work with Local Health Department to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals to help facilitate effective contact tracing/notifications
- Once testing is readily available, test all suspected infections or exposures
- Following testing, contact Local Health Department to initiate appropriate care and tracing

General Office Environments

 MandatoryRecommended Best Practices
Employees and Guests- Ensure minimum 6 ft between people, if not possible, install barriers
- Personnel should work from home when possible
- Employees must perform daily symptom assessment*
- Require employees to stay home if symptomatic
- Ensure minimum 6 ft between people, if not possible, install barriers
- Face coverings must be worn at all times while working
- Require regular handwashing
- Reduce sharing of work materials
- Limit travel as much as possible
- Stagger arrival of all employees and guests
- Post signage on health safety guidelines in common areas
- Ensure seating distance of 6 ft or more
- Enable natural workplace ventilation
- Ensure seating distance of 6 ft or more
- Health questionnaire for symptoms at entry
- Temperature taking protocol
Physical Spaces / Workstations- Frequent disinfection of desks, workstations, and high-contact surfaces
- Daily disinfection of common areas
- Cancel/postpone in person events when social distancing guidelines cannot be met
- No buffet in cafeteria
- Utilize disposable tableware and other materials
- Establish maximum capacity (e.g. 50% of fire code)
- Redesign/space workstations for 6 ft or more distance
- Close cafeteria and gathering spaces if possible, or conduct regular cleanings
- Limit congregation in office spaces
- Redesign/space workstations for 6 ft or more of distance
- Divide essential staff into groups and establishing rotating shift
- Availability of at least 3 weeks of cleaning supplies
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases- Immediately isolate and seek medical care for any individual who develops symptoms while at work
- Contact the Local Health District about suspected cases or exposures
- Shutdown shop/floor for deep sanitation if possible
- Work with Local Health Department to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals to help facilitate effective contact tracing/notifications
- Once testing is readily available, test all suspected infections or exposures
- Following testing, contact Local Health Department to initiate appropriate care and tracing
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